The Buffalo River Trail is a backpacking and hikes trail that hugs the Buffalo River. There are two unconnected sections East/Lower (42 mi) and West/Upper (39 mi). I will be hiking the western section
I prefer to do long distance hikes when I have the entire trail to myself and don’t have to worry about camping space or parking spaces.
The time of year really matters as far as what gear you will need and how much food you need to carry. I am not a thru-hiker so I will be doing a section hike. I decided to do it at the beginning of October because of the cooler weather and it’s still green! Also, at that time of year, I’m comfortable sleeping in a 3 season tent with just my down sleeping bag. If it’s not raining I’ll hang the rain fly or leave it off.
Here is what I’m planning on packing so far:
When planning this type of backpacking trip there are many factors to consider including weather, distance per day, gear comfortability, resupply options and more.
I start all my hiking research with Alltrails so I can identify distance, water, and shelter.
Surprisingly, my biggest worry for this trip initially was water. Yes this hike is along the Buffalo River, but the hike hugs the river but never crosses it and at the time of writing this water levels are pretty low (you can check the water levels here).
The Second is distance. The Buffalo River Trail (Western Section) has a few popular routes Buffalo River Trail: Boxley to Pruitt (40 mi) and Buffalo River Trail: Ponca to Pruitt (25 mi). I plan to do this hike with a friend passing through town to shortly. So we are going to split the Ponca to Pruitt section and will do roughly 12.5 miles per day. This section captions most the scenery and works with my timeframe. Maybe in the future I’ll do it a second time.